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Summer 2017 Fellows standing or seated in wheelchairs, smiling and posing for the camera

Faith Inclusion Fellowship

The National Leadership Program: Fellowship in Faith Inclusion

Geoffrey Maleda speaking to RespectAbility Fellows seated around a large brown table

Geoffrey Melada of Hillel speaking to RespectAbility Fellows

Jewish Inclusion Fellows will work to increase inclusion and access for Jews with disabilities and their families. When the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed almost 27 years ago, it exempted faith-based organizations. Thus, many such organizations still do have not have the attitudes, physical facilities or training they need to appropriately welcome people of all abilities. Given the very important role that faith and faith-based organizations play in the United States, RespectAbility is working for full inclusion in all faith groups. However, it has started this work focusing on the Jewish community. As model practices are established, we are working broadly across faiths to share best practices.

RespectAbility understands that the Jewish community, like all communities, is stronger when it lives up to its values – when it is welcoming, diverse, moral, and respects each other. We want children, parents, grandparents, friends, and other family members with disabilities to be able to fully participate in their communities. A “Slingshot-recognized” organization, RespectAbility is on the front lines working to ensure that everyone knows that his or her presence and participation is welcomed and meaningful. The Jewish Inclusion Fellows take this idea and apply it to our education efforts and outreach to faith institutions around the country.

All of the fellows and staff standing in a large group against the wall with the RespectAbility logo all over it

William Daroff of Jewish Federation with RespectAbility Fellows and Staff

One of our key initiatives for 2017 revolves around building Communities of Practice. Communities of Practices are geographically-focused partnerships that convene local stakeholders to work together to fight stigmas and advance opportunities for the local disability community. Focusing on Long Beach, CA and the entertainment industry, stakeholders include the faith community, funders, workforce professionals, individuals with disabilities, employers, health and service providers, disability organizations, the media, Hollywood and local elected officials. Fellows – including Jewish Inclusion Fellows – will be closely involved in this critical work while stationed at our office in Rockville, MD.

Our program is fully accessible for people with disabilities and offers full-time in-house job coaching, skills development and networking opportunities. Assistive technology and personal care support are available as needed.

Who We Want

The National Leadership Program is ideal for people who want to gain skills and contacts while making a positive difference for people with disabilities. We are looking for thoughtful and results-driven individuals who want to achieve breakthrough results while getting hands-on experience. The fellowship is for college and graduate students, as well as for people transitioning into the workforce for the first time, or back into the workforce after a break. Fellows ideally will have an interest in the nonprofit/faith inclusion sector. Past inclusion experience not necessary.

Fellowship Duties

The fellows will work closely with our National Leadership Program Director and Development and Inclusion Associate, with possible projects with a New York City- based RespectAbility board member and an Ohio-based consultant. Individual projects will be assigned based on an individual’s unique skill set and their own ability to “bring something to the table.”

Specific tasks might include outreach to faith institutions (especially around these Communities of Practice); fundraising work pertaining to faith-based inclusion like grant and proposal writing and prospect research; and attending faith-based inclusion meetings, events, and workshops. The Jewish Inclusion Fellows will learn about all of our other issue areas and departments too. The fellowship helps both to increase a fellow’s skill set and to advance RespectAbility’s mission.

Each fellow will receive many opportunities to learn new skills, network and gain direct experiences. In addition to hands-on work experiences, all fellows will participate in special presentations by guest speakers and intensive strategic communications workshops. A career plan will be developed by each fellow that will enable him or her to gain appropriate workplace experience while contributing directly and measurably to RespectAbility’s impact. Upon the completion of the fellowship program, applicants can expect to come away with excellent experience in the fields of inclusion, policy, strategic communications and fundraising; fair knowledge of issues for people with disabilities; and leadership skills to help them grow into confident advocates.

Important Details for Applicants

  • Excellent communication and organizational skills are strongly preferred, and Fellows should exhibit leadership skills to complete their own projects.
  • Strong preference for college juniors and above.
  • Commit for a minimum of nine weeks.
  • Hours are 9-5. Summer Fellows are required to work a minimum of 35 hours per week and Spring/Fall Fellows should be able to work at least 20 hours a week, though 40 hours per week is preferred.
  • There is no tuition cost to do the Fellowship, and stipend Fellows will be awarded $300 a month as a transportation reimbursement.
  • A limited number of paid Fellowships will receive $15/hr for a total of 360 hours of work.
  • The Fellowship takes place in Rockville, Maryland. The office is a short distance from the White Flint Metro Station on the Red Line.
  • Your cover letter must explain why this Fellowship in particular is of interest to you and why you believe you have the skills, focus and independent drive to make a positive difference in your time with us at RespectAbility.

RespectAbility provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, veteran status or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, RespectAbility complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

Fill out the linked Google Doc Form and send your resume and cover letter to Christopher Trujillo at to apply for any of our National Leadership Program opportunities! If you are applying for a paid Fellowship, explain in your cover letter how you can advance diversity and intersectionality issues.




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Respect Ability - Fighting Stigmas. Advancing Opportunities.


11333 Woodglen Drive, #102
Rockville, MD 20852
Office Number: 202-517-6272


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